In-town shooting ranges weighed in Franklin

Franklin Town Board members have decided to put off action on whether to allow an indoor shooting range in town limits. The request came in April from gun dealer and former Macon County commissioner Bob Simpson.

The town board was considering an exemption to the local ordinance that prohibits firing a gun in the town limits in Franklin to allow permitted indoor firing ranges. However, upon closer examination, Town Planner Derek Roland pointed out at the board’s meeting May 6 that allowing gun ranges in town may open a can of worms.

Once allowed, indoor gun ranges could potentially be classified as indoor recreation facilities under the zoning ordinances. That would allow shooting ranges to be located at a large number of sites in the town, not just one old factory site on Ulco Drive where Simpson was hoping to put one.

“When you permit it, you’re not only allowing just it in (the industrial sectors) but in a lot of other places around town,” Roland told town board members.

The board also discussed making prospective shooting ranges go through a special permit process but instead decided to table the item until the next meeting, citing that it wasn’t urgent. Simpson had expressed his interest in opening the gun range sooner rather than later but hasn’t purchased the property yet.

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